How to choose the best proposal software for your freelance business
When searching for proposal software for your freelance business, you’ll soon be met with dozens of different products.
But which one is the right tool for you?
In this post, we aim to find that out. We’ll go through all the key factors you’ll need to take into account when choosing a proposal software for your freelance business - and give you a few recommendations.
Without further ado, let’s jump in!
What is proposal software?
Let’s start with the basics. What is proposal software exactly?
In short, proposal software (or proposal management software) is an app or platform that helps salespeople create sales proposals.
Also, different proposal software come with different features, like automation and integrations.
Generally, proposal software allows freelancers to create sales proposals easily and efficiently while ensuring they look professionally designed. The main purpose of proposal software is to save you time and help you focus on activities that directly impact your sales.
Important to mention is that almost all of the proposal software are cloud-based and they usually come with a price tag. Later on, we’ll recommend several proposal software we think are great for smaller teams - and one completely free solution!
Now, let’s talk about why you should even use proposal software as a freelancer!
What are the benefits of using proposal software in your freelance business?
It’s safe to say that using proposal software for your freelance business comes with loads of benefits.
Here are some of the most notable.
Proposal software saves you time
The traditional, “manual” method of creating sales proposals can easily become time-consuming. With proposal software, this issue becomes a thing of the past.
You can easily save up to 20-30 minutes of your time per a sales proposal - if you use proposal software. And this number gets even higher the more complex your sales proposal is.
We’re fully aware that freelancers simply can’t afford to sit for hours writing sales proposals.
Luckily, sales proposal software has now become extremely accessible to freelancers. There are several sales proposal tools you can get for cheap - and we’ll go through them later on in this post!
Proposal software helps you collaborate more easily
You and your colleagues are putting together a sales proposal, but you feel that the entire thing could’ve gone more smoothly.
Proposal software helps you put together professional freelance proposals effortlessly, even when you’re working in a team. From providing feedback to making revisions in real-time and tracking changes, proposal software usually has these or similar features.
All in all, it’s easy to conclude that using proposal software in freelance teams can supercharge your collaboration.
Track and analyze all your sales proposals
Having all your sales proposals in a single place does come in handy. Especially when you can track their statuses and dig deeper into the analysis.
For instance, with proposal software, you can:
- Track how long it took for each client to respond
- Track how many of your sales proposals were accepted
- Filter all proposals by specific services.
When you start working on a new sales proposal, you’ll find all this information useful and you’ll have a better understanding of how to create a winning proposal.
Surely, deciding which proposal software is best for your freelance business is not an easy task. To help you make the right decision, we’ll go through 5 key factors you’ll want to take into account.
The 5 key factors you need to consider before choosing proposal software for your freelance business
Not all proposal software are made equal. From different designs to different features and integrations, there are many things you’ll want to pay attention to before making a buying decision.
Let’s go over the 5 key factors!
Features and functionalities
This is probably the most important factor you’ll need to weigh. The question you need to ask yourself first is - what do I need in proposal software?
Luckily, countless reviews have already told us which features mean the most to proposal software users.
1. Proposal effectiveness reporting
In short, this would be the proposal software’s analytics capabilities. When using proposal software, you’ll want to be able to see how many of your sales proposals are successful.
Depending on the software you choose, you’ll be able to use different views and filters to analyze your proposal's effectiveness.
2. Drag-and-drop proposal builder
The lack of this feature is, in our view, a dealbreaker. The very purpose of proposal software is to increase your efficiency and help you create winning sales proposals fast.
And you’ll want to pay attention to the drag-and-drop builder for every proposal software you research.
3. Customizable templates
When you’re trying to make the most out of your working day, it would be quite useful if you could speed up the process of creating proposals. After all, you want to have as much time available for your billable work.
With customizable templates, you can create proposals extremely fast.
For example, if you’re an SEO freelancer, it would be great if you simply choose one of the predesigned templates for each of the services you’re offering.
Or if you have a fixed-price, full-package SEO offer, why not templatize it? Using templates is what allows us to maximize our results, and you’ll want that in your proposal software.
Ease of use
When running a freelance business, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours figuring out how to use your new proposal software.
Hence, we can easily say that ease of use is one of the critical factors when choosing proposal software. You’ll want something intuitive and user-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about spending time learning how to use it.
Remember - a good proposal software needs to be:
- Easy to set up
- Easy to navigate
- Easy to use
You’ll want all the important features simply explained to you. And predefined templates do make a difference when choosing proposal software.
The more complex a proposal software is, the chance is that it’s going to be a bit clunkier to use. So, take into account your needs and wants and use proposal software that best fits you personally.
Customer support and available resources
Do they have a support section on the website? Is there an FAQ page? How long does it usually take for them to answer customer inquiries? Are there any how-to guides and tutorials?
These are just some of the questions you may want to answer when evaluating a proposal software’s support and resources.
If a certain proposal software has reliable and efficient customer support, this can easily make a huge difference. Having access to customer support and crucial resources is of utmost importance, especially when you encounter a certain issue.
Keep in mind, help resources are extremely important when you’re just starting. Otherwise, it would be difficult to set up the software and maximize its potential. And if there are no tutorials, user guides, or FAQs on the software’s website, think again before you decide to sign up for a monthly plan.
All in all, customer support and help resources play a big role in the digital product space. Even Google thinks so.
Most importantly, they provide you with peace of mind, ensuring you that no problem can’t be solved.
Available software integrations often play a big role, especially if you’re already using a few tools and you’d like to connect them all. This can hugely impact your productivity and simplify your work processes, so think about this when searching for new proposal software.
Having various software integrated with your proposal software can be incredibly beneficial, but the software integrations themselves can be seen as gamechangers.
In any case, let’s take a look at what kind of integrations you should look out for.
Here are some suggestions:
- If you’re using tools like Trello or Asana, check if there are available integrations for any of them. Most software today allow you to connect with these project management tools
- If you already have a CRM like Hubspot or Salesforce set up, integrating it with your proposal software can be highly beneficial. You’ll immediately have everything you need to create a personalized proposal that speaks to your client’s pain points
- If you’re using accounting software, try to integrate it with your proposal software. This way, you’ll be able to send invoices, receive payments, and track your financial data more easily
All in all, think of software integrations as a key factor when choosing proposal software for your freelance business. They can greatly improve your efficiency and help you reach your sales goals much faster.
Just a reminder - be sure to check if the software you’re looking to sign up for already integrates with some of the tools you’re already using!
Value for money
For a majority of freelancers, spending large sums of money on administrative and sales tools (like proposal software) may not be the best course of action.
Instead, you should try to make an informed decision based on your research. Or someone else’s for that matter.
Here, every bit matters. Is the software a bit costly, but it has a ton of useful features? Or is it free but it has a limited set of features? Does their website have enough useful resources?
Most importantly, you must take into account your budget and your business needs when making a buying decision. For freelancers, most of the time, the cost tends to be the largest decision factor, so make sure to keep an eye out for free proposal software!
Luckily, the first proposal software for freelancers we’ll talk about next is 100% free!
What is the best proposal software for freelancers?
Now that we’ve gone through all the major factors that can impact your buying decision, let’s take a look at the top 5 proposal software for freelancers!
Here’s the list.
You may call us biased, but we just love how simple and easy to use Propoze is.
Out of all software on this list, Propoze is the simplest one. The idea behind Propoze is to allow users to create a beautiful sales proposal in moments, easily use their branding, and move on with their work.
It’s incredibly easy to use with a set of a few crucial features, such as the drag-and-drop editor, proposal tracking, and client management.
Who is it for: Freelancers, solopreneurs, agencies
Cost: Free - click to sign up for our free plan!
PandaDoc is easily one of the top proposal software for freelancers. It’s complex software enabling you to do much more than build proposals. You can create interactive quotes, contracts, and more.
Its free version is a bit limited when it comes to features and functionalities, but its paid plan is where it gets interesting. More than 30 integrations (Slack, Freshbooks, Google Drive, Hubspot CRM, and more) make it a desirable proposal software for a freelancer with a wide digital toolkit.
Who is it for: Freelancers, small and medium-sized businesses, enterprises
Cost: Paid plans start at $19/mo, but there is a free plan available
Proposify may not be the first option that comes to freelancers’ minds, but it’s a pretty good proposal software overall!
It comes with predesigned proposal templates and offers full customization. Templates are smartly designed and organized by component, allowing you to templatize your work even further.
Like the rest of the software on the list, it comes with a drag-and-drop editor allowing you to easily create new proposals. And important to mention, it allows you to track your proposal’s progress and see who’s viewing your documents.
Similar to PandaDoc, it offers various software integrations, some of them being Stripe, Hubspot, Infusionsoft, QuickBooks, and many more. Regarding support, you can easily contact them online or via phone during business hours.
Who is it for: Mostly large companies dealing with a great number of clients
Cost: Team plans begin at $49/mo per user, but there is a free version available for individuals
Qwilr is, undoubtedly, a top-notch proposal software for freelancers and businesses of all sizes. It’s neatly designed and has a user-friendly interface which makes it one of the favorites among proposal software users.
Even though there is no free plan, they make up for it with their numerous features, high-level support, and the sheer availability of software integrations.
Qwilr has a vast library of predesigned proposal templates, organized by industries, making it easy for you to create proposals fast if you’re working in several different industries.
What makes Qwilr stand out from the other proposal software we’ve covered? Qwilr doesn’t help you create PDF proposals. Instead, Qwilr proposals are designed as beautiful, interactive, and mobile-responsive web pages.
It offers integration with various external software, like Zapier, Slack, and Hubspot. And, for those moments when you need a helping hand, customer support is available online and via phone during business hours.
Who is it for: Freelancers, small and medium-sized companies, enterprises
Cost: Team plans begin at $35/mo, there is no free plan
Next, we have Dropbox Docsend. Now, unlike other software on the list, Docsend is much more than proposal software. It serves as a platform for sharing all types of documents. This is no wonder if we take into account that it comes from the minds behind Dropbox.
In short, Docsend allows you to store all your documents, secure them with passwords, and track further activities after you send them. It’s great to use if you’re dealing with a ton of documents and you want to keep them all in place.
That said, it does integrate with Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
Like many other tools on the list, it does feature eSignature, which you may also find a highly attractive feature.
All in all, Docsend is a unique platform you should definitely take a look at and even use in combination with other software from the list (pssst, try Propoze!)
Who is it for: Freelancers, small and medium-sized companies, enterprises
Cost: The pricing plans start at $10/mo for individuals and $45/mo for large teams
Prospero is a powerful and user-friendly proposal tool created primarily for freelancers and small companies. It offers a variety of features that can be used to quickly and easily make beautiful proposals.
It offers a wide range of functionalities, such as:
- PDF exporting
- Document analytics and audit trail
- Approval workflow
- Notification system
- Access control
The ability of Prospero to accept e-signatures and payments right inside the proposal is one of its most distinctive features. This means that you can send proposals, get signatures on them, and get paid all through a single, easy procedure. For freelance contractors and owners of small businesses, this single feature is one of the biggest time-savers. Unlike several tools on this list, Prospero doesn’t provide APIs, but we’re positive it will soon get on their development roadmap.
Also, regardless of the industry you’re in, Prospero offers a large arsenal of predesigned proposal templates. When you’re freelancing, you know you’ll most probably use these templates more than once!
And if you’re using software like Quickbooks, Hotjar, or Zapier, you’ll like that Prospero offers integrations for these platforms!
Who is it for: Freelancers and small-sized business
Price: 10$/mo and there is a 14-day free trial
And last, but definitely not the least, is Bonsai. Bonsai is a proposal software and business management platform with a ton of features. Whether you’re a freelancer or a small business owner, you’ll love how many features Bonsai can offer.
Unlike other tools on the list, Bonsai offers much more than just a proposal software.
From client and project management features (CRM, scheduling, time tracking, task management, etc.) to finance management functionalities (invoicing, accounting, taxes, etc.), Bonsai can help you manage several aspects of your business.
And if you’re an agency account manager, for example, you’ll see a large number of your day-to-day challenges solved with Bonsai. Same as previous tools, it does offer templates:
- Contract templates
- Proposal templates
- Scope of work templates
- Brief templates
- Form templates
- Invoice templates
Overall, Bonsai is an excellent proposal software and freelance management tool for freelancers and small businesses who want an all-in-one solution to manage their workflow, contracts, proposals, and invoicing. With its range of features and affordable pricing, Bonsai is definitely worth checking out.
Who is it for: Freelancers and small business owners
Cost: Pricing plans start at $17/mo, 7-day trial is available
Use our free sales proposal solution to create beautiful proposals in moments
This was a long ride! We’ve gone through a lot of information today - from the benefits of using proposal software in your freelance business to the list of the best 7 proposal software for freelancers.
What we can conclude is - you most probably want to try out one of these software! To help you get started, why not try Propoze? We’ve got everything you need to design a beautiful, clean sales proposal - and it’s free!
Here’s a link for a free signup so feel free to give it a spin - there’s no contract or any sort of obligation here!
And if you’d like to know more about proposal software, be sure to keep following our blog! We’ll be posting highly-researched articles every week. So, if you’d like us to cover a certain topic, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be on it ASAP!